By Jeff Andrew Lule
The Ministry of Internal Affairs department of Prevention of Trafficking in Persons together with the anti-human trafficking detectives at the Criminal Investigations Directorate are investigating the Alliance In Motion Global (AIM) Uganda Limited, a food supplement company, over alleged fraud, extortion, and human trafficking.
According to the ministry, the company which deals in food supplements has been luring young people aged between 17-25 years, promising them fake jobs in Arua district.
It is alleged that 500 youths were lured into the fake job promises, and were made to pay sh1.2million.
The deputy national coordinator of prevention of trafficking in persons, Agnes Igoye told journalists during the Monday joint security briefing at the police headquarters in Naguru, a Kampala suburb, that the company has been asking their unsuspecting victims to pay sh1.2m for their registration and accommodation.
“AIM is are continuously recruiting (I remember sometime talking about the issues of Arua) girls and boys; and they are disguising themselves as a company that sells supplements, and they are cleared by the National Drug Authority (NDA),” she observed.
The victims are mainly recruited from the districts of Acholi, Teso, and Lango sub-regions.
Igoye noted that all those recruited were asked to pay sh1,250,000 each, for registration, laptop, training, rent, and administration.
“Once they reach Arua, it is when they realize the jobs are not there. They are now given receipts claiming the money they paid, was used to buy food supplements. That’s how the food supplements are supposed to be hawked around,” she noted.
On top of that, the recruits are also required to recruit more than two others also required to pay sh1.2m.
“Once they recruit those two, it is when they are paid sh260000. We have about 10 victims who have reported. They are students from different districts including Kitgum, Lamwo, Soroti, Masindi, Pader, and Omoro,” she noted.
Igoye said the company has office in Arua, Gulu, Lira, Soroti, Mbale and their main offices in Kampala.
She noted that the victims in Arua were over 500.
she noted that two of the AIM staff in Arua identified as Rose Arinaitwe and Boaz Yesiga were arrested and remanded to Arua Regional Prison.
Challenging the charge
“The two are being charged with obtaining money by false pretense, which we are challenging because this is clearly a case of human trafficking,” she explained.
Adding that; “When you recruit…because these people were not told that when you reach Arua you will be given these food supplements, then you start hawking. So, when you go and recruit and even tell people to pay, and later bring them, you are already using deceit recruiting them without giving them jobs that you promise”.
Igoye says these kinds of cases continue to escalate. “I know there are some people who say they have benefited from AIM. If you have benefited and have not been recruited for those purposes; well-there are victims of trafficking who have been recruited and it is widespread.
I have been to Busia, Mbale, and everywhere, and it is getting out of hand. This organization AIM is really recruiting young people from school, from different areas, and exploiting them; and that is human trafficking, as per the prevention of trafficking in person act,” she noted.